Almost a month after the typhoon hit the central Philippines, here are some updates about the situation for indigenous peoples in the country:
Palawan island There have been two waves of relief operation and distribution in the barangays of Dillan, Lajala, Banuang Daan, Tagumpay and Marcilla in Coron, Palawan. A total of 1010 families (7,206 individuals) of indigenous peoples received relief packs. Another relief operation will be held by next week in the town of Busuanga. The next phase of the relief mobilization will be focused on the rehabilitation of houses and livelihood for 1,300 targeted families.
Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Central Philippines and caused a lot of damages to the lives, livelihood and properties of the Filipino people. Among the affected are the indigenous peoples in the Islands of Panay, Mindoro and Palawan. At least 50 indigenous communities of Tumandok, Ati, Hanunuo, Buhid, Bangon, Alangan and Tagbanua were directly affected by the typhoon. Houses were destroyed by the strong winds and falling trees, and other houses and communities were flooded.
In the Philippines, massive oil palm monocultures are tearing apart indigenous peoples’ livelihood while plundering ecological valuable areas and precious biodiversity. As of June 2009, the total area devoted to oil palm in the country had already reached 46,608 hectares, covering the islands of Mindanao, Bohol and Palawan. Currently, in Northern Mindanao alone, 20,000 hectares of agricultural land are being targeted for conversion into oil palms, and another 20,000 hectares have been set aside for the same purpose in Palawan.